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  • 19 Mar 2021 6:59 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    We write on behalf of BALIF, as the nation’s oldest LGBTQIA+ bar association, to express our rage, grief, and condolences for the victims and their families affected by the shootings on March 16, 2021 in the Atlanta area at three massage parlors, the Gold Massage Spa, Young’s Asian Massage, and Aroma Therapy Spa.  As of this writing, an FBI Director and Georgia Sheriff stated that the shootings do not appear to be racially motivated.  However, of the eight people murdered on Tuesday, six were of Asian descent, and seven were women.  Not only was race a factor, but gender and an anti-sex work animus played a role as well. Organizations like Red Canary Song, a grassroots Chinese massage parlor worker coalition, have eloquently written about how to radically heal and mourn, and we want to uplift those voices in solidarity with the AAPI community and affirm BALIF’s commitment to work towards for a future in which low-wage workers, Asian and Asian-Pacific American/Asian-Pacific Islanders (AAPI) people, sex workers, and women are protected and respected to allow them to peacefully labor, prosper, and survive.

    Much has been said about stopping AAPI hate following this tragedy, and daily incidents of brutal violence against Asian elders in the Bay Area continue to come to light, coupled with the exponential increase in hate crimes against the AAPI community since the start of the pandemic.  These stories hit home for us, our families and friends, and our broader communities. 

    Esther K., a co-director of Red Canary Song, recently said in a Guardian article, “Removing the anti-sex-work component really removes the crux of what this specific kind of racism is about: the fetishization of Asian women’s bodies, the objectification of their bodies and the assumption that Asian women are obviously going to be providing sexual services at massage parlors,” and “the conflation of massage parlors and sex workers without any nuance is very specific to anti-Asian racism against Asian women.”  Due to sexist racialized perceptions of Asian women, especially those engaged in vulnerable, low-wage work, Asian massage workers are harmed by the criminalization of sex work, regardless of whether they engage in it themselves. 

    As a call to action, please consider signing up for the Bay Area Workers Support (BAWS), Attorney Referral Network to offer legal help to support sex workers. BAWS welcomes any sex worker allied attorneys in any field and experience level. If you are interested in being on this referral list please fill out the form or you can contact rhanileeremedes@gmail.com for more information about this project. This Sunday, GAPA is coordinating a rally and march beginning at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco at 11:00am. Please follow the event on Facebook for more information.  For more AAPI Anti-Hate Community Resources, please check out our BALIF Community Forum.

    BALIF supports the AAPI community in condemning these heinous acts that occurred on March 16, 2021.  If you are an ally, please educate yourself and others.  Look out for those in the AAPI community, train yourselves, and be there for others.  We ask you to all be gentle to yourselves, and give yourself some space and breaks to process, grieve, reflect, and express your anger.


  • 26 Jan 2021 1:18 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The BALIF Foundation is dedicated to increasing the number of LGBTQI judges on the bench through educational programming, supporting LGBTQI community organizations, and providing scholarships, summer stipends, and fellowships for LGBTQI law students and young attorneys seeking to help the LGBTQI community through legal work. 

    In 2020, we made donations to ALRP, the Transgender Law Center, and the BALIF Halloween Fundraiser benefiting TGIJP, in addition to awarding the below awards, fellowships and scholarships:  

    Inaugural Julius Turman Award - Rachel Schiff 

    Rachel Schiff graduated from UC Davis School of Law Class in 2020.  Rachel's accomplishments include hosting one of the law school's first Trans Day of Remembrance events and founding the UC Davis School of Law Gender Name Change Project in 2018, which serves trans and gender nonconforming youth seeking name and gender changes. The Project has assisted over 100 individuals since its inception.  Rachel is currently clerking in the Eastern District of California  

    BALIF Foundation Summer Fellowship - Nahlee Lin

    Nahlee Lin is a 2L at Berkeley Law, where she serves as a Co-Chair of the Womxn of Color Collective, Associate Editor on the California Law Review, and research assistant at the Othering & Belonging Institute. She has also interned at the Health & Welfare Clinic of the East Bay Community Law Center, served as a student counselor at the Workers' Rights Clinic, and volunteered at TGIJP Legal Mail Clinics. During her 1L summer, she worked at Oasis Legal Services assisting LGBTQIA+ immigrants to apply for asylum.   

    APABA-SV and BALIF Foundation Joint Scholarship - Ernest Fok

    Ernie is a 3L at Santa Clara University School of Law for the 2020-21 academic year. He is a member of Santa Clara Law's Equity, Justice and Engagement Committee, current Co-President of the Santa Clara Law Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, and former Co-President for EQSCU, Santa Clara Law's LGBT law student organization. After law school, Ernie will join Weil Gotshal's Silicon Valley office as a patent litigation associate, and he will continue to promote and advocate for the Asian American and LGBT legal community throughout his legal career.

    FBANC Foundation and BALIF Foundation Pamilya Joint Scholarship - Idrian Mollaneda 

    Idrian Mollaneda is a 3L at UC Berkeley School of Law.  He currently serves as an associate editor for the California Law Review and senior articles editor for the Asian American Law Journal.  Idrian previously served as co-president of the Queer Caucus and the Pilipinx American Law Society at Berkeley.  After graduating, Idrian will join Farella Braun + Martel as a litigation associate.   

    Law Student Association of the Year - Equality Santa Clara (EQSCU)

  • 05 Jan 2021 12:14 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF condemns in no uncertain terms the unprecedented effort by President Trump and GOP Members of Congress to mass-disenfranchise voters by overturning the electoral college vote.  This ongoing assault on our democracy culminated this past weekend with revelations that President Trump directly asked the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” additional votes.  In addition, several GOP Senators and Representatives have stated their intentions to challenge the electoral college votes from key states when Congress meets to count and certify the votes.

    As lawyers, we believe we have a responsibility to speak out and not remain silent when our legal system is threatened.  The President and his allies have mounted dozens of baseless lawsuits promoting a false narrative of voter fraud, but these have been uniformly rejected by courts because there is simply no evidence of fraud.  In many cases, courts have said that the lawsuits do not even allege the existence of fraud.  There is simply no constitutional, legal, or factual basis to support any of these claims.

    The assault on our democracy is particularly dangerous because it perpetuates a revisionist narrative that election protection is a partisan issue.  The past several years have seen an enormous success in increasing voter registration and turnout amongst communities of color and other groups that have historically low participation rates in elections.  We must stand in solidarity with these groups and continue to demand better access to voting and full implementation of voting rights.

    Amanda Hamilton & Jeff Kosbie 
    BALIF Board Co-Chairs

  • 07 Dec 2020 10:43 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    DONATE HERE

    BALIF is excited to host a Holiday Fundraiser to accompany our first ever Virtual Holiday Party! The Fundraiser kicks off today and will last through the end of December. 

    This year, BALIF is honored to raise funds for Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners.  Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners is an all-volunteer organization that, for over 40 years, has fed the community of San Francisco on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Their dinners average a thousand people each holiday and take place at the First Unitarian Church at the corner of Franklin Street and Geary Boulevard.

    Tessie was the drag name of Perry Spink, a local performer/bartender who was very familiar with the people and character of the Tenderloin District in San Francisco during the 60’s and 70’s. Legend has it that on Thanksgiving in 1974, he received several turkeys and was inspired to cook and serve them to the local Tenderloin residents (with the help of less-than-sober bar buddies). It was a gesture that showed the San Francisco Community that no matter who you were; there was someone who cared. Read the whole story about Empress Tessie here.

    The Reigning Empress of San Francisco Mimi Osa writes, "I've been volunteering for the past 5 years, and my favorite part is seeing the love shared between the community and those in need. Tenderloin Tessie's Holiday Dinners provide meals but also an atmosphere of decency and respect. Whether people are facing food insecurity or have nowhere else to go, Tenderloin Tessie's volunteers treat every client as a welcomed guest." 

    Please join us in raising some much-needed funds to continue this tradition of feeding the hungry in San Francisco! Whether it is $5 or $500, your contribution to this grassroots organization is appreciated!

    BALIF is a community of LGBTQI+ legal professionals that envisions a world where LGBTQI+ people live with dignity and equality under the law. We value LGBTQI+ Justice & Equality, Community Empowerment & Development, and Diversity & Inclusion. Our mission is to lead our LGBTQI+ legal community through advocacy, justice, community empowerment, and professional development.

  • 05 Oct 2020 5:44 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    BALIF is rejoicing today with Governor Newsom's announcement appointing the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins to the Supreme Court of California. Justice Jenkins will be the first openly LGBTQI+ person and only the third African American to serve on the high court. 

    We applaud Governor Newsom's decision to continue leading in the realm of LGBTQI+ equality. On July 9, 2020, BALIF authored a letter joined by other California bar associations calling on Governor Newsom to appoint an LGBTQI+ person and/or a person of color to replace Justice Chin. Read the full letter here. Our court is now more representative of our great and diverse state because of Governor Newsom's wise decision.

    Justice Jenkins was born and raised in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco. He is an alum of City College of San Francisco, Santa Clara University and the University of San Francisco School of Law. Justice Jenkins began his career as a law clerk in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, where he later served as a deputy district attorney. He also served as a prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1989 he was appointed to the Alameda County Municipal Court by Governor Deukmejian. In 1992, Governor Wilson appointed him to the Alameda County Superior Court, where he served until 1997. He then served as a United States District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California having been appointed by President Clinton. In 2008, Judge Jenkins returned to state court following his appointment by Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Court of Appeal. In his retirement from the judiciary, Justice Jenkins has served in the Newsom administration as Judicial Appointments Secretary.  

    In his acceptance speech, Justice Jenkins remarked:

    I want to say to some young person who may be out there watching today who is struggling with their identity. Anyone who knows me knows my identity has been as a gay man perhaps the greatest challenge of my life. And it has not been easy. But I want to say today to those young people who may be watching and those who may hear about what has transpired here: that I'm not here in spite of the struggle, I am here because of the struggle. It has deepened my character, afforded me sensibilities about the world, and about people who are not so willing to accept that people can love differently than they do, but nevertheless love sincerely, genuinely and affectively. I want these young people to know that living a life of authenticity is the greatest gift you can give yourself. And if you do that, you too will find yourself in a position where people see you and really see you and who you are, your authentic self.  And in the extraordinary opportunity I'm being offered today, I thank you, Governor Newsom, for seeing me and I promise to do my best to dispatch the enormous responsibilities that are incumbent with this great office.

    Justice Jenkins' message accepting the nomination is reflective of what his appointment means for Californians and Americans generally. There is no place, including the highest levels of government, that is foreclosed to LGBTQI+ people. Today we move closer to a world where all LGBTQI+ people live with dignity and equality under the law. BALIF was founded to get LGBTQI judges on the bench. At that time there were no openly LGBTQI judges. Today one of us has been nominated to serve on the State Supreme Court!

  • 08 Sep 2020 1:05 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    On August 24, 2020, the Supreme Court of California announced that long-time BALIF member Sean SeLegue will be the next Chair of the State Bar of California, effective September 25. SeLegue commented, “I’m very proud to be only the second openly LGBTQ Chair of the State Bar and grateful to BALIF for endorsing me when I ran for election to the State Bar Board in 2016. Since I first joined BALIF nearly 30 years ago and served on the board as a young lawyer, BALIF has been the linchpin of our LGBTQ legal community. We have come a long way in those years, and I am glad BALIF is there to help us continue toward full inclusion of LGBTQ lawyers in our legal system.” SeLegue is a partner at Arnold & Porter, and a former BALIF board member.

    Click Here for Full Article


  • 01 Sep 2020 1:18 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
    This past week, we heard from a trifecta of amazing advocates who work with LGBQAI incarcerated populations: TGIJPFlying Over Walls, and ABO Comix for an evening of zine art, card-writing, and learning! Check out more info here.

    We hope to see you at our Halloween fundraiser on October 29, 2020! 100% of proceeds will go to TGIJP. RSVP today!

  • 26 Aug 2020 3:51 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Once again, we are horrified at the latest police shooting of an unarmed Black man. It seems like each time gets more perverse and vile. But the truth is this has been happening for all of America’s history. If you witnessed the shooting of Jacob Blake, it is abundantly clear that the excessive use of force by the police is endemic to the very structure of the police in our society.  At a time when defunding the police has become a rallying call we must join our voices to radically transform the way we think about law enforcement. We must prioritize visions of law enforcement that center positive and constructive outcomes rather than lethal threats.

    BALIF calls on our members to join us in standing in solidarity with other communities most affected by police violence. Being true allies means taking action to end these injustices, as well as promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our own community, in the broader legal profession, and in our society as a whole. Since our last message concerning police shootings BALIF has put words into actions. A few highlights:

    • Donated $1,800 to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Flying Over Walls: Black and Pink, and the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project
    • Planned a training for attorneys wishing to represent protestors or who can crowdsource research and briefing to take place September 29, 2020
    • Called on the Governor to appoint an LGBTQI+ and/or person of color to replace retiring Justice Chin on the Supreme Court of California
    • Collaborated with the California Bar to implement improvements to survey data analysis and questions to adequately represent the overlooked diversity of intersectional identities and transgender attorneys in the annual Diversity Report
    • Participated in a Virtual Legal Clinic with the Oakland LGBT Center
    • Hosted Social Justice Summer events to fund raise with and promote the following Black and Trans-centered advocacy organizations:
      • TAJA Coalition, Lyon-Martin Health Services, Transgender Cultural District, and St. James Infirmary
      • Flying Over Walls: Black and Pink, ABO Comix, and the TGI Justice Project
    • Collaborated to present the following CLE programs:
      • TGI Prison Representation During COVID-19
      • Rising Power: Building an Intersectional Justice Movement in the US, and Diversity in the Legal Profession
      • Recognizing and Dismantling Bias in Law Firms and Private Companies
      • Discrimination, Allyship, and Commonality
      • Discrimination, Allyship, and Intersectionality
    • Are organizing an October 29, 2020 Halloween Fundraiser to benefit the TGI Justice Project, whose mission is to challenge and end the human rights abuses committed against TGI people in California prisons, jails, detention centers and beyond
    • Increased the number of Board members representing the Black/African-American community
    • Developed a governance structure and mandate for the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee

    Your ongoing support ensures we can continue to uplift our voices against injustice and furthers our mission to lead the LGBTQI+ legal community through advocacy, justice, community empowerment, and professional development. 

    We wish Jacob Blake a full and speedy recovery and hold his family and the community in our hearts.

    Click here to view the statement.

  • 11 Aug 2020 1:26 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)



    Don’t let the pandemic drag you down! Share some of your most fabulous photos, member updates, and coping strategies with the BALIF community in our weekly newsletter! Our communications co-chairs Ari Jones and Michael Trung Nguyen lead off to show their sparkle!

    Email communications@balif.org

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